• Japan’s oldest brewery, Sapporo, produces best-selling beers out of six Japanese locations, as well as sites in Vietnam and Canada.
  • Collaborating with Cargill, Sapporo discovers what causes staleness in beer: lipoxygenase, a barley-based enzyme that prompts unwanted oxidation.
  • To solve the problem, Cargill Prairie Malt™ commercializes Polar Star, a strain of barley that protects beer against harmful enzymes.
  • No other brewery in Japan has access to Polar Star—a competitive advantage Sapporo intends to maintain through its partnership with Cargill.

A fresh idea for Sapporo® Beer


To prevent natural oxidation in beer, Cargill collaborates with a customer to develop an innovative strain of barley that will impact the entire industry.

Beer lovers around the world expect consistent aroma and flavor from their favorite brews. But because beer contains barley, it often oxidizes during storage and shipment, a naturally occurring process that can leave beverages with a stale taste. It is a problem that plagues brewers across the globe: at the 2012 World Brewing Congress in Portland, Oregon, Cargill’s malt business conducted a survey of master brewers and industry professionals, with 55% reporting they had a flavor stability issue with their beer.

Renowned for its crisp, clean taste, Sapporo® Beer—Japan’s oldest brand—has been brewed since 1876. Sapporo has evolved its portfolio to offer many beers on the market today.

After a period of experimentation, Sapporo and the University of Saskatchewan collaborated with Cargill’s Saskatchewan joint venture, Prairie Malt Limited (now Cargill Prairie Malt™), and developed an innovative solution to natural oxidation: Polar Star, a new strain of barley that extends a beer’s flavor by protecting it against a specific enzyme, identified as the root cause of staleness.

As one of the most innovative brewers in the business, Sapporo is the first brewer to use Polar Star across its operations, a status that has generated a new competitive edge for the Japanese brand. Not only does the innovative ingredient ensure the best experience for Sapporo’s customers, it is setting a new standard that will positively impact the industry at large.